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Chiropractic Care for Herniated Disc Pain

Back pain is a common problem that plagues almost everyone once in their lifetime. Sometimes that pain is caused by an injury and herniation to the disc in the back. We have known for years that patients with disc problems improved with chiropractic care. Now we have another scientific study supporting chiropractic care for herniated disc pain. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, chiropractic care for herniated disc pain offered substantial relief.

Researchers studied 148 individuals (roughly 75 percent male, 25 percent female) between 18 and 65 years old who had pain in both their lower back and legs due to disc herniation in their lumbar region. They were all patients at one chiropractic office in Zurich, Switzerland, and just over half were labeled as having “acute” pain in their legs and back due to experiencing symptoms less than a month. Additionally, almost a quarter of the test subjects had what researchers defined as “chronic” pain, meaning it lasted three months or more.



Each participant engaged in specific chiropractic treatment (spinal manipulation) to address the pain from disc herniation confirmed by an MRI. The pain was assessed and data collected at five points through the course of a year. Information collected included self-report from the patient, as well as other clinically recognized testing measures such as the Oswestry questionnaire, a 10-question tool commonly used by healthcare professionals to help determine both pain intensity and disability. 

Two weeks into chiropractic treatment, almost 70 percent of the participants reported feeling “better” or “much better.” This rate rose to nearly 80 percent one month after treatment began, and again to just over 90 percent three months into the study. Even at the six month and one year marks, approximately 88 percent of the participants still experienced improvement.

Leemann S, Peterson CK, Schmid C, et al. Outcomes of acute and chronic patients with magnetic resonance imaging – confirmed symptomatic lumbar disc herniations receiving high-velocity, low-amplitude, spinal manipulative therapy: a prospective observational cohort study with one-year follow-up. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;37(3);155-163.


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Dr. Richard L. Cole, DC, DACNB, DAIPM, FIACN, FICC
Dr. Jeffrey D. Luebbe, DC, CCRD, CCSP
Dr. W. Steven Vollmer, DC, DAAPM
Dr. Bradford J. Cole, DC, MS, CSCS
Dr. J. Colby Poston, DC
2845 Summer Oaks Dr., Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 377-2340

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